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How to Clean Up Your Own Credit Record, For Free

If you have credit problems, you're a prime target for scammers out to make quick money off your ignorance. Letters or postcards in your mailbox may claim that a company can erase bad credit, remove bankruptcy and liens from your credit file and generally restore your credit report to gleaming condition. All they ask is that you pay them for the favor. Some companies are charging upward of $500 to do work on your credit report. You can do that yourself!

The FTC points out that a person's credit history is maintained by private credit bureaus that collect information reported to them by banks, stores, mortgage companies and other creditors. These bureaus can legally report accurate negative credit information for seven years from the date of the last action, and bankruptcy information for ten years. If the information is accurate no one can erase it; it remains on your report for the full reporting period. However, if the information is wrong or is still in your file beyond the reporting periods, it can be removed.

You don't need a credit repair clinic to clean up an outdated or inaccurate report. You can do it yourself, often for free! To obtain a copy of your credit report contact a credit bureau or reporting agency in your area. Simply ask for a copy of your credit report. You may have to pay a small fee for the retrieval. If you find that information on the report is in error, notify the credit bureau and define the problem. They are required to investigate it at no charge to you. If your claims are found to be correct, the bureau will revise the report. They are also required to send out corrected copies to anyone who received the incorrect version within the previous six months.

Remember that credit repair scammers will say that only they can clean up your report. They will also ask for money - in advance. In the end, they may do little if anything to rectify your credit history. Don't fall for the claims or pay them any money. Fix the reports yourself.

Laura Quarantiello hates criminals and the crimes they commit. Her book "On Guard" can help you minimize the risk you family faces from criminal elements. Get more information at: www.tiare.com/onguard.htm


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